White Sox Minor League News and Notes, 4/22 to 4/28

Baseball’s No. 1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made his debut April 26 to a packed Rogers Centre.

The hype and buzz preceding his debut with deafening, the Blue Jays’ service time manipulation was maddening and the cheers after he recorded his first hit were jubilant. Which brings us to the White Sox.

The top 10 prospect list is going to look a lot different after this year. Vlad, Eloy, the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Nationals’ Victor Robles will all fall off the board this season, with Houston RHP Forrest Whitley and OF Kyle Tucker and Cincinnati (soon-to-be) OF Nick Senzel soon-to-follow.

Using Fangraph’s THE BOARD, the new top 10 could initially look like this:

  1. Tampa Bay SS Wander Franco
  2. Minnesota SS Royce Lewis
  3. Toronto SS Bo Bichette (unless his broken hand drops him)  
  4. Los Angeles Angels OF Jo Adell
  5. Cincinnati OF Taylor Trammell
  6. Milwaukee 2B Keston Hiura
  7. Tampa Bay P/1B Brendan McKay
  8. Los Angeles Dodgers C Kerbet Ruiz
  9. Minnesota OF Alex Kirilloff
  10. Miami Marlins RHP Sixto Sanchez

The first White Sox prospect on the BOARD’s top 100 is RHP Michael Kopech, followed by 2B Nick Madrigal (who Fangraphs is higher on than anybody else), OF Luis Robert and then RHP Dylan Cease ends the list at 58. In his first mock draft, Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel had the White Sox taking University of California 1B Andrew Vaughn (No. 2 prospect in the draft and No. 51 in the top 100 currently), but that’s it. The current team isn’t over-flowing with prospects and the farm doesn’t have enough of a presence on the top 100.

Much has been said about the White Sox tendency to draft players with higher floors than ceilings and the Vaughn pick fits that mold, but for a system as top-loaded as the White Sox, depth is a cause for concern. Several times now, I’ve compared the White Sox rebuild to the Phillies, but the lack of spending this off-season and now the decreasing free agent pool nullifies that comparison. The White Sox rebuild is entering Cincinnati Reds territory, a potential-heavy team with more holes than you like with a perpetual lack of pitching.

Three years from now if everything clicks, the White Sox have large question marks in the rotation. Dylan Cease is promising, Kopech was promising and there is breakthrough potential in the farm. But if the White Sox want to compete, there will have to be more breakouts than burnouts or they will be rebuilding longer than projected.

With that, here’s what you need to know this week.

Prospect performance highlights

  • Winston-Salem RHP Alec Hansen threw two shutout innings April 22, striking out five and allowing a single hit. Hansen is having a remarkable comeback year. Through April 23rd, he’s pitched eight innings, given up a single hit, walked two and struck out 14. (℅ Joe Weil)
  • RHP Zack Burdi threw an inning of shutout ball on April 22 rehabbing with Kannapolis, striking out the side.
  • Winston-Salem OF Jameson Fisher went 3-4 April 23 with a walk. That same game, LHP Kyle Kubat threw five strong innings, giving up an unearned run and two hits. He walked a single batter and struck out six.
  • Charlotte SS Danny Mendick walked off Toledo April 23. For the day, he was 2-5, with a double and a home run. He walked once and struck out twice.
  • Charlotte OF Charlie Tilson was 4-5 with a triple and a strikeout April 25.
  • Winston-Salem 2B Nick Madrigal was 1-2 April 25. He walked three times.
  • Kannapolis RHP Davis Martin had a stellar performance April 25. Through six innings, he gave up a run and two hits but struck out 11 along the way.
  • Kannapolis OF Steele Walker went 3-4 April 25 and OF Luis Alexander Basabe went 2-3 with two walks and a strikeout.  
  • Charlotte C Zack Collins was 2-4 with a home run and a walk April 26.

Transactions

Injuries

Assigned

  • Charlotte C Brett Nicholas was demoted to Birmingham
  • C Nate Nolan was assigned to Charlotte
  • Charlotte RHP Zack Burdi returned from injury and was assigned to Kannapolis
  • Birmingham C Alfredo Gonzalez was promoted to Charlotte
  • Birmingham OF Joel Booker was promoted to Charlotte
  • Birmingham RHP Zach Thompson was promoted to Charlotte
  • Birmingham OF Luis Alexander Basabe returned from injury, was assigned to Kannapolis for a rehab stint and then was promoted to Birmingham
  • Kannapolis OF Alex Destino was promoted to Winston-Salem

Recalled

Outrighted

Released

Status Change

  • SS Ramon Torres was placed on the temporarily inactive list April 24

Team Performances

  • Charlotte posted a 3-3 week (15-9 overall, 1st). Who would’ve seen this coming. The top prospect-light Knights continue to stake their claim to the top of the division. If they don’t watch out (or regress) the Gwinnett Stripers are right on their tail and have the talent to run away with it. Speaking of the Stripers, Charlotte begins a three game home series with them before going to Norfolk four four.
  • Birmingham went 1-6 for the week (10-14 overall, 4.5 games back). Call this week Birmingham and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, which is the popular sequel to the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season. It’s not clicking for the Barons, despite a promising amount of talent. That said it’s a long season and the Barons will have plenty of chances to right the ship. They have a series against Montgomery before coming home to take on Chattanooga.
  • Winston-Salem had a 5-1 week (13-11 overall, 3 games back). The Dash had a very good team-wide run last week, as they swept Wilmington. They wrap up April with a series against Potomac, splitting three at home and three at Potomac.
  • Kannapolis compiled a 5-2 week (10-12 overall, 7.5 games back). To continue the theme of their season, the Intimidators haven’t been very intimidating, though things seem headed in a better direction recently. While they’re not last in the division, they’re not having a very good year so far. That said with a 5-2 record over the last week could mean the team is getting better. They’ll look to carry the winning momentum into a series against Charleston and a series against the Crawdads.
  • Great Falls opens their season in 47 days. AZL will start a few days earlier than that, but no schedule has been announced yet.

News and Links

  • The latest episode of our podcast features Editor-in-Chief Clinton Cole talking with MLB.com Senior Writer Jim Callis on the state of the farm.
  • It’s a pivotal time for the White Sox’s top three pitching prospects. Our own Ken Sawilchik tells you why.
  • Winston-Salem OF Luis Robert continues to tear the cover off the ball and is one of several early Winston-Salem standouts. FutureSox’s Mike Rankin broke them down. Speaking of Robert, rumors circulating around Twitter of a significant injury are false.
  • Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel released his first mock draft of the year, linking the White Sox to Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn.  
  • Eloy sprained his ankle and The Athletic’s James Fegan wrote about his April performance. Speaking of Fegan, he spoke with Marco Paddy about his role in the White Sox international efforts. Fegan also wrote about Zack Collins and his aspirations to be a better Tyler Flowers.

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  • great article! thanks eric!

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